Confessions of an Intern: Wizard World Chicago 2007 Report & Photos

Another weekend, another convention. Ron and I just finished our weekend jaunt to attend Wizard World Chicago. It was quite a different experience for me for many reasons — it was also an amazing time for many reasons.

We both arrived on Friday and had lunch meetings downtown. This is where the trouble really began…

…as neither of us realized the distance between “Chicago” and the actual convention center. Sure, there are maps, and we could have done some research… but the thing was called “Wizard World Chicago” how did we know that we would be sitting on the Dan Ryan for hours in traffic trying to get to Rosemont, Illinois? After plenty of honking, cursing, emotions and emissions we made it to the convention center. Frazzled, stressed and already wiped out we hit the floor at about 4 o’clock. We were immediately recognized by one of the iFanboy faithful, which seemed to be a trend for this convention.

My initial reaction to the con was — where is everything? Fortunately or unfortunately I have only attended the San Diego Comic-Con — so using that as my standard I had some adjusting to do. The room was significantly smaller, as was the crowd. However, something that should be noted — there wasn’t an abundance of movies or video game booths, as there are in San Diego. Sure there were a few, but most of the booths were comic related. There were a couple of odd things smattering the floor, but for the most part comics ruled all, in Chicago Rosemont.

Initially Ron and I thought the smaller size might help us in our quest to get good interviews. Fewer people meant that lines might be shorter; artists might be less cranky, etc. etc. This of course was not the correct assumption. In fact, even with the smaller size, many creators still tried to push off interviews until the waning hours of Sunday. Fortunately our stubbornness/persistence got us rolling with a few great interviews.

We met up with the Tom Katers, Chris Neseman, and Brion “Sal” Salazar from Around Comics. The rest of the crew had the opportunity to meet them a while back, but this was the first time for me to meet them. They are a great bunch of guys, an absolute riot to hang out with. Their podcast is worth checking out if you haven’t done so already. Around Comics had a table conveniently set up opposite of DC, yet they were against the wall, next to the men’s room. I’m still trying to figure out if it was a blessing or a curse…

I pounded the pavement in hopes of locating booth babes. Ron claims that I am a one trick pony — I just figure if you are good at something you should stick with it. Sadly, there is a distinct difference in the amount of booth babes in Chicago Rosemont compared to those in San Diego. My first encounter was over at Zenescope — we can always count on them for some lovely ladies dressed up in some type of revealing fairy tale costume. While there I also met Jenna, a former booth babe turned sales rep for Zenescope. There were a few others roaming the floor, including Amy and Jacquelyn. But, beyond that there was not a lot to choose from. I quickly had to adjust my points of interests for this con to less enjoyable work.

Ron dragged me to a few panels. Since we missed the majority of the comics related panels on Friday, we only had what was left of the panels on Saturday. We got to the convention center on Saturday morning to a huge line and asked a volunteer what it was for. “It’s for the Dark Knight panel tonight and we’re not letting press in.” Ooo-kay. We weren’t even asking as “the press” rather we just wanted to know what everyone was standing around. Turns out the panel that everyone was talking about was the Warner Brothers/DC movies panel where footage of the Batman sequel would be shown (which I’m sure you’ve already read all about). We shrugged and moved on, knowing that we weren’t even planning on going to that panel anyhow.

So we hit the “DC Universe” panel with our friend John Siuntres from Word Balloon. It was a packed room, as well as a packed dais, as Dan DiDio brought up pretty much every person who worked for DC who was at the convention. We heard all about a lot of the work they coming, but the big announcement was the Johnny DC line, three comics for kids, which seemed to be a good thing. Ron was excited at least. Later in the afternoon we hit Marvel’s “Civil War Remembrance” panel. This had… fewer people. Joe Quesada and Jim McCann were joined by Mark Millar, who they made a lot of jokes about understanding what he was saying with his Scottish accent, but I could understand him just fine, so I didn’t get it. There was a lot of talk about Civil War, questions about how and why they did things and a lot of laughs. They announced that Millar and Bryan Hitch are working on Fantastic Four, with a very cool animated trailer. The art looked sweet. Luckily this was the last panel we went to and afterwards we headed back to the con floor.

Ron and I continued to wander the floor and get some great interviews. I won’t go into too much about those — I don’t want to give away all the fun of the video coverage. Just know that we worked hard for you. I’ll tell you something about small cons, though — you keep running into the same people. This was great when we were interacting with the iFanboy Faithful… but it got awkward quickly when we were seeing people we interviewed (or didn’t interview). The bigger con floor of San Diego, coupled with the mass of people, gives you a chance to “disappear” whereas in Chicago Rosemont there was no “blending in.”

All in all, the convention was a great time. It was just as exhausting as San Diego, maybe even more exhausting (as there were only two of us working). We talked to a lot of creators and publishers, and our time with Around Comics was really great. If you ever end up in the Rosemont area, may God have mercy on your soul — but seriously, we had amazing deep dish at a place called Giordano’s. It was just down the road from the convention. It seems to get busy on the weekends (or at least this past weekend) and the deep dish takes a while to cook — but it was worth it.

Finally I would like to give a special thanks to all the iFanboy Faithful that either chased us down on the con floor or that met up with us at the Hyatt on Friday night. It was so great to see everybody — especially those of you that were wearing our shirts at the con. We love to see our “interns” roaming the con floor. So, keep listening, watching and reading. Now I have some books to read before the guys load me up with a bunch of crap work.

I am already looking forward to next year’s convention season!!!



  1. “…we hit the floor at about 4 o’clock. We were immediately recognized by one of the iFanboy faithful”

    wow. i was mentioned in gordon’s recap. yeah me!

    great recap. glad to hear you guys enjoyed the trip.

    also, sorry again for calling you Garry, Gordon. brain fart!

  2. Sorry I missed you guys out there.

    Ultimately, Wizard World ends up being a good place to buy an assload of comics (I got a full 80’s denny o’neil Question run and Jones/Parobeck (RIP) El Diablo), but little else.

    There were no announcements to speak of (esp. from DC) except for Millar/Hitch FF which was less of an announcement and more of a reassurement that they were well on their way to it being late in it’s 7th or 8th month.

    The Wizard Fan Awards were a complete joke, since they came 8 months after the year ended and Dan Didio couldn’t be bothered to accept awards for his comics or have creators attend so he sent unrelated artists (poor-Ethan Van Sciver) up to accept. Quesada couldn’t muster anything interesting to say either, though I understand he was ill. It was just sad to see the immensity of the accomplishment of 52 diminished to whatever Jamal Igle could think of to say about it to the 100’s of fans waiting to hear a little something more profound.

    Further, the guest list was a complete joke. I haven’t been in a few years, but the last time I was, they had people like Bendis, Rucka, & Loeb talking about writing or exciting projects. This year we got third tier writers (though some good artists, minus Michael “tit-fuck this in your daydreams, guys” Turner and his posse) and Didio and Quesada sold as guests, when honestly, it’s their FRAKKIN JOB to be there. This is why I don’t always attend this con. I find it’s been a teeter between poor-planning so you can’t get in to see interesting people on panels and this years complete absence of any panel or Guest of interest. Good luck with trying to trump San Diego with your June show next year. Douchebags.

  3. well i had a great time at ww chicago.

    best time hanging out with ron and gordon on friday

    (and adding tom from aroumd comics to our gathering was so much fun)

    thank you for coming to chicago.

  4. thanks again for taking that picture of me with Cassaday. I already saved it to my computer so you dont have to e-mail it to me. Sorry about ruining your interview. Thanks again

  5. [sigh] Unfortunately I got really sick and had to leave early Friday and never made it back. So I’m sorry I missed you guys. But after Thursday night and Friday on the convention floor, I felt like I had pretty much seen it all. I haven’t been there in a few years, and I was surprised by the smallness of it. But it does have it’s own charm, I guess.

    I hope you come back next year so I can finally meet you.

  6. Wow…I cannot believe I forgot to mention this…

    There was a stitching convention right upstairs. Talk about two worlds colliding. Wowza.

    Ron and I decided we will be attending “STITCHES, BITCHES 2008.”

    Hope to see you there, too.